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HERALD EXPRESS - FANS' ZONE 29/04/2020


Nick Brodrick, TUST board member and Supporter Liaison Officer, has been given the opportunity to write a weekly column for the Herald Express under the heading "Fans' Zone".  Here is this week's edition.



TORQUAY UNITED’S FAMILY SENDS OUT A MESSAGE OF HOPE


During this lockdown world we’re living in, a week in football terms seems like a very long time. Nearly every day brings new football speculation by pundits - players, managers, ex-managers, so which story to believe?


Against all the odds the Yellow Army were, as Gary Johnson puts it, clinging to the hope that somehow, sometime, the remaining matches of the season would be played eventually. But the National League vote to end the season put paid to that. With social distancing very likely to continue, even to the end of the year or maybe longer, it is hard to see how football matches with spectators can be played.


We, at TUST, at our virtual board meeting last week, agreed that the season should be ended. Whilst there might be a case for the Premiership to play behind closed doors in order to fulfil their TV commitments, at National League level football without spectators isn’t football. Simon Hallett, the Plymouth Argyle chairman, has recently said, “ If it’s not safe for a crowd to watch a contact sport, how can it be safe for a participant?”


With the season over the next big question is how to conclude it: null and void? points per game? promotion and relegation? play offs? With decisions still to be made by the Premiership and EFL that leaves the National League out on a limb.


These are times for strong, decisive leadership.


Last Friday a senior National League source was quoted in a national newspaper saying that National League clubs should go into “hibernation” and only return when crowds were again permitted, maybe not until 2021.


Yellow Army fans can, though, take hope and comfort from Gary Johnson’s recent optimistic comments when he talks about how the club’s owner and CEO are sticking with sponsors, the staff and players- the Torquay United family.



Having made my debut in the column last week there are no doubt a number of you wondering who I am; a Torquay United supporter of some 55 years and proud to be one of the Yellow Army. Many of you who sit in Bristow’s and the Family Stand will recognise me, during our National South Championship season, as the MatchDay Ambassador co-ordinator, along with my TUST colleague Rob, meeting and greeting.


This was a very popular club/ TUST innovation and we enjoyed chatting with fellow fans who appreciated our availability not to mention taking advantage of handed out stickers, balloons and badges, the latter being most sort after by the adults.


What was most enjoyable was meeting children who were attending their first ever match, to exiles down for a weekend to fans of Southampton, Spurs, West Ham, Leicester to name but a few who were in Torbay for a holiday.


Finally, on a sad note, those who follow the various Torquay forums, will know of the passing of Andrew Holland, aka Westyorkshiregull, at the age of 40; my condolences to Andy’s family and friends.


So to all in the Yellow Army, stay safe.




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